Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology


Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

David Faust


In recent decades, a specific class of dubious clinical practices has been labeled pseudoscientific and highlighted as a growing area of concern in psychology. Experts have identified numerous examples of pseudoscientific treatments, which are troubling for various ethical reasons. In light of the absence of research investigating the nature of professional beliefs and knowledge associated with scientifically substantiated and unsubstantiated clinical interventions, the primary objective of this study was to develop a questionnaire (viz., the Clinical Attitudes and Knowledge Questionnaire, or CAKQ) to appraise specific clinical knowledge domains and attitudes toward science among licensed, doctoral-level practitioners of clinical psychology. This aim was pursued through generating items designed to detect the presence of knowledge pertaining to (a) legitimate and questionable treatment techniques used in contemporary clinical practice; (b) general clinical psychology research (e.g., controversies relevant to applied practice); and (c) clinical judgment and decision-making procedures. A preliminary scale consisting of items addressing practitioner attitudes toward science in clinical psychology was also created. A secondary study aim was to ascertain whether psychologists’ professed knowledge varied in relation to years involved in clinical practice. Two thousand randomly selected licensed psychologists in New England engaged in clinical practice were invited to participate in the study, and the final sample size was 324 participants. Statistical analyses indicated that the initial hypotheses were partially supported. The hypothesis that a four-component solution would best summarize the CAKQ data was not supported by principal components analysis results. However, the hypothesized relationship between clinical knowledge and critical thinking skills was partially supported. Consistent with expectations, a lower reliance on intuitive thinking styles was associated with greater clinical knowledge. Finally, the hypothesis that total number of years of clinical experience would not predict higher clinical knowledge scores was also upheld. Study limitations and future research directions were discussed.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.